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Local support for UNI player Lucas O'Rear

8:33 PM, Mar 26, 2010   |    comments
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  • Mike O'Rear.
    

KSDK -- Northern Iowa may have a hometown advantage versus Michigan State, as fans of NIU star and Nashville, Illinois native Lucas O'Rear, pack the Edward Jomes Dome.

When number 32 takes the court, he'll have all of Nashville, Illinois rooting for him. Just like he did when he was wearing number 44, playing high school ball.

Darin Lee is now the head coach at Collinsville, but coached O'Rear in Nashville. A junior vartisty versus varsity scrimmage revealed O'Rear's talent early on.

"They about beat us. And my JV coach comes up and says, 'You know why we about beat you?' I said, 'I think I do.' And he said, 'It's because I had Lucas and you didn't.' I said, 'Well, that can be fixed,'" Lee recounted.

It was varsity from that point forward. O'Rear is still the school's all-time leading scorer, and it seems the town is as fond of him now as they were then.

Mike Borowiak owns Lee's Sports and had the idea to print "Fear the burns" t-shirts, a take on O'Rear's signature sideburns.

"I got on the phone with my screen printer, they came up. At first I said, 'What do you think, 40, 50 shirts?' Then another 72, people were calling and e-mailing," Borowiak said.

Nearly 500 orders later, the t-shirt has become the unofficial uniform for Nashville residents. And as much as the support means to Lucas, it means even more to his family

"My wife died of cancer, and they're helping us out with this," said Mike O'Rear, Lucas' father.

All money raised from the shirts benefits Relay For Life. The current donation is just under $2,000.

"It's been really unbelievable. I say that over and over and over again, but you just can't believe how it's brought the community of Nashville together. It's just, unbelievable is the word for it," O'Rear said.

KSDK

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